Monday, February 26, 2018

February 26, 1954 -- Historic Loop Buildings Prepare for Wrecking Ball

February 26, 1954 – The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that two of the city’s oldest buildings will soon fall to the wrecking ball.  Plans are to replace the first, the 62-year-old Wilkinson Building at the southeast corner of Washington and Wells Streets, with a three-story parking facility for 500 cars.  Known at the Teutonic Building when it was constructed, it was renamed for Theodore Roosevelt before the new owner, John C. Wilkinson, gave the family name to the structure after purchasing it for $175,000 in 1946.  The second building, a five-story structure at the northwest corner of Washington and Dearborn Streets, will have its three top floors demolished and the remaining two floors rebuilt into a “modern two-story shop and office building.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, February 27, 1954] The building was purchased in October of 1953 for $400,000 with the rebuilding of the structure estimated to cost $135,000. You won’t find anything left of the building there today … the location is approximately where the flagpoles stand on Daley Plaza.  Pretty good job of peeking into the future for the 100 North Dearborn Corporation, the owners of the property – it picks up a corner lot a block away from the seat of city and county government for a half million bucks that ten years later the city would have to acquire in order to build its slick mid-century modern civic center.  The original Teutonic Building is shown in the Rand McNally drawing in the top photo.  The second photo shows that the parking facility that took its place in the mid-1950's is still parking cars just east of the Wells Street elevated tracks.

February 26, 1912 -- Ebenezer Buckingham dies at his residence, 2036 Prairie Avenue.  A graduate of Yale University, Buckingham came to Chicago in 1850, and in 1865 took over management of the grain elevators located at the Illinois Central depot at the mouth of the Chicago River.  By 1873 he and his brother, John, had increased the capacity of the elevators from 700,000 bushels to 2.9 million bushels.  Investing wisely as the city exploded both in population and in industry, Buckingham became the president of the Northwestern National Bank in 1890.  In 1853 Buckingham married Lucy Sturges, and a son, Clarence, and two daughters, Kate and Lucy, were born to the couple.  It was the death of Clarence Buckingham that led Kate Buckingham to provide the generous gift of the fountain dedicated to the memory of her brother that sits today at the head of Congress Avenue. 

February 26, 1903 -- With the payment of $100,000 the Studebaker brothers become absolute owners of the Fine Arts Building and the ground beneath it. The ground on which the building stood had been held in a 99-year lease that began in May of 1885 with an annual ground rent of $2,000. The building, designed by Solon Spencer Beman, opened in 1886 with a four-story annex added for use by the Art Institute in 1898. On July 7, 1978 the building was declared a Chicago City Landmark. The photo below shows the building as it looked in 1900.

1 comment:

Pete said...

A few years ago, that garage at Washington and Wells got a street-level renovation. When the cladding was removed, what could be seen of the building underneath looked old - much older than a 1950s parking garage. It makes me wonder if the upper floors of the Wilkinson Building were removed, and replaced by a new garage.